Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm Asking Politely do Mexicans all seem to like the same music? And why do they all seem to like blaring that music with their car windows down as they drive by?

Please, I'm trying so hard not to come off as racist or something. I love these people. And I'm sure that what I'm seeing (hearing) is a generalization...but then why does it happen all the time?

I have to laugh when the Doppler effect makes the Mexican music warp as they drive past. One time the driver's CD even had a skip, and for some reason that made Michael and me laugh like crazy.

It's hard for me to imagine being so tied to such a defined culture that I would be so exclusive about something like music. There are certain things tabbed as more American than other things--beyond music, too--but the whole point of being American is having variety, diversity. So it's really hard for me to imagine being anything but.

Am I narrow-minded?


  1. Ooh! I wrote a really good comment and the internet ate it. I guess we're even. Here's a total rewrite of it:
    I don't think you're narrow-minded. They really do play very similar music all the time and very obnoxiously loudly. And some standards of 'good music' are probably universal and are probably being violated by th'oomph-foomph' bass lines.
    However, there are several factors which may help you endure: First, the music is very tradition-bound. The style itself can have a lot of nostalgia/sentimentality. Plus, a lot of international pop music has much closer roots to traditional songs and dances than our top 40 dominated culture. No other nation or culture can even come close to competing with the way our pop music machine chews through musical styles and trends. There are significantly less artists, less recordings, less cross pollination of ideas between artists and genres, and therefore much more stylistic stagnation. Take our own country music - the only vitality in it is those artists like Taylor Swift who don't really play 'country' but a sort of 'countryfied' pop-rock with an endearing twang. Finally, the language barrier matters a lot. Russian pop can crack me up (it is like folk-accordion-techno) but I do appreciate it more when I understand something of the meaning of the song. We all know that good, meaningful lyrics can go a long ways towards redeeming a song's deficiencies. (For example, from Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me-e-e: the cute 'you've got a smile that could light up this whole town' balancing the terrible interpretation of the chorus' Me-ee--breath--ee.) So perhaps we can give them the benefit of the doubt that their amazingly stylistically homogeneous music is full of great metaphors and no end of heart-wrenching wordplay. So, part of it is tied to culture, but in a way that us Americans don't really relate to anymore, with our million dollar music videos for the artist of the week, touting the latest trend of retro-wave-dance-rock sweeping the nation.


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